Vayak'hel: Chapter 23

The firmaments of Asiyah


Rabbi Aba opens with a discussion of "The heavens are the heavens of Hashem, but He has given the earth to the children of man," asking why it says, "The heavens are the heavens." Rabbi Shimon says that there are heavens down below in the world of Asiyah, and earth beneath it, and there are heavens above in the world of Atzilut, and earth beneath this heaven. Everything that exists above exists below.

The heavens below are like ten curtains, the ten Sfirot, that God made together with the legions of angels in them in order to rule over the lower world. The tenth firmament is the principal one, of Keter. The ninth firmament is Chochmah that rules over all the lower ones. Rabbi Shimon goes on to explain the relationship of the firmaments to one another. Rabbi Aba asks if no firmament rules over the land of Yisrael, how can it still have rain and dew? Rabbi Shimon explains that God rules over it directly. We then hear of the portals within each firmament, and how the authority of the chiefs lie between those portals.